Apex Legends Switch Analysis Reveals Port Changes, Performance

Legends comes to the Nintendo , and a new technical deep dive on the performance of the port from developer Panic Button is released.

Apex Legends launched on the Nintendo Switch earlier this month to much excitement. The Switch version of Apex Legends has its flaws, but many are pleased to see Respawn Entertainment's battle royale finally be on Nintendo's hybrid console. Although technical details have been revealed for the Switch version of the game, recently, Digital Foundry did a deep dive into the port's performance and revealed all of the nitty-gritty findings.

Digital Foundry specializes in video game and hardware reviews by analyzing the data and technical details. An example would be a comparison of the Xbox Series X and PS5 versions of Control: Ultimate Edition that Digital Foundry did or a review of the Radeon RX 6700 XT. With Apex Legends just releasing on the Switch, Digital Foundry decided to take a peek at the port and see how it performs.

Developer Panic Button handled the Nintendo Switch port of Apex Legends. When the version of the game launched on March 9th, the developer shared the technical details of the Nintendo Switch version of Apex Legends. However, Digital Foundry knows that oftentimes that information is more of a benchmark than an actuality, and the results of its in-depth technical tests showed that Apex Legends on the Switch does not always run very well.

To do a comparison, Digital Foundry had frame rate information running at all times and also had Apex Legends matches running in cross-play with one game being on the Switch and another playing via the Xbox Series X; that way the team could monitor the results in real-time comparatively between the Switch and Xbox. The results show why it is that some fans have complained about the Switch version of Apex Legends.

Digital Foundry noted that Apex Legends is the first game to use the Source engine on the Switch. The textures are a big downgrade when compared to the Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. The game runs at Dynamic 72op when docked and Dynamic 576p when in portable mode. The resolution can dip a bit during intense moments. Shadows and alpha effects also are of worse quality on the Switch. As far as things that are exactly the same, the Nintendo Switch version has the exact same map design/framework, the same characters, battle pass, etc. Water reflections, cloth physics, and shadows of things like flags are also interestingly enough the same across all platforms.

There are also multiple competitive disadvantages for both sides due to the port. For the Switch, the target range was 30 frames per second (which is partially why things like textures are downgraded), but the game drops even lower than that during gunfights–sometimes as low as 19 frames per second. Meanwhile, other consoles are running at 60 frames per second. Additionally, the textures, resolution, and blurred look of the Switch port will be an advantage for other versions.

For an interesting advantage in the Switch's favor, some geometry and vegetation are almost non-existent across the map, especially on a map like Kings Canyon. So it is possible that a player may seem mostly hidden while playing on an Xbox and be standing completely in the open on the Switch version of Apex Legends.

Apex Legends is available now on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

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